The Shopkeeper

A thought-provoking duet that uses contemporary dance and comedy to explore the relationship between one man’s struggle between his outward-facing persona and his inner-battle with depression.

Artist Bio

Sandrine Monin

Sandrine began her training at the C.N.S.M.D. de Lyon (Fr), then continued her studies in Germany with the D.A.N.C.E. programme lead by W. Forsythe, W. McGregor, A. Preljocaj and F. Flamand and graduated from the Palucca Hochshule für Tanz in 2010 with a Master's Degree.

As professional dancer, she worked with varied choreographers and performed for renowned companies (Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, Phoenix Dance Theatre).

In parallel of her performing career, she has developed her own choreographic work as well as teaching classes and workshops.

In 2017, she was selected artist for the Mentoring Programme and the Choreographer's Observership from One Dance UK.

She is now freelance choreographer, dancer and teacher based in Leeds.

Always looking to further her practice, she has validated in 2019 a Business and Finance course with the Open University and is studying a MA in Choreography with Central School of Ballet.

Often wrapped in poetic and surrealistic atmospheres, her unique choreographic signature is visceral, marrying strong physicality, sophisticated technique and human sensitivity. 

About the project...

The project revolves around two ambitions. 

Firstly, the investigation of a collaboration between contemporary dance and comedy.

Secondly the desire to create a piece touching on mental health issues - specifically depression.

The creative questions will explore how the two media, can complement each other; how spoken words and movements can be combined to create a unique language to raise the issue, engage with the audience and open a dialogue on a topic that needs to be openly discussed.

In this intent, the project will explore the development of a poignant duet, where one actor and one dancer give life to funny and relatable characters through comedy and dance, while underlying some darker societal problems. 

The narrative starting point sees two shopkeepers at the back of their store. Everything seems normal, but looking at it closer, it gets more and more unusual… 

Only at the end, the audience will realise that the man has been on his own all along and the woman only a personification of the depression that he suffers from; portraying the silent, solitary, relentless battle happening in his head.

About the outreach...

This exciting project will make a priority to reach out and engage with a wide and diverse audience. 

Throughout the research and development, the artists will organise outreach visits in mental heath charities and groups as well as in sports centres, bringing dance and theatre in new fields.

Workshops, classes, conversations and invitations to sharing will be put in place, gathering feedback and making sure the work remains relatable and accessible to a broad audience.

A call-out campaign will be put in place to develop a way to connect audiences with the creative process, asking for their input, to share stories of mental health and their relationship to the topic.

About the partners...

The project is supported by experienced and highly qualified partners on both creative & managerial aspects who will ensure its fulfilment and the standard of its outcome.

Spin Arts

Spin Arts, Director Sarah Shead and Associate producer Rosie Watt, has over 12 years of combined experience producing, fundraising, marketing and managing successful artistic projects from national/regional schemes to a range of GFA / Lottery funding projects.
Sarah’s background is in professional development at Dance4 and Yorkshire Dance, and has produced touring shows with companies such as DeNada Dance Theatre, Hagit Yakira Dance and Tell Tale Hearts.
Rosie Watt has worked with clients such as Non Applicables, Earthfall, Kapow, Surface Area Dance Theatre, and has previously worked in marketing, admin, and dance teaching roles for Dance City, and as an assessor for Total Theatre Awards at Edinburgh Fringe in collaboration with The Place.

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Kala Sangam

Performing venue in Bradford, featuring high-quality local, national & international artists from a variety of cultural heritages:

· Brings best choreographers & composers

· Works with artists to offer tailored support to their needs (free rehearsal space, organisational development, writing fundraising applications, performance opportunities, technical support, meeting room space)

Yorkshire Dance

Yorkshire Dance is a charity which champions the value of dance and its development in Yorkshire.
We create opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to see, make and take part in high quality dance.

Leeds City College

Leeds City College is one of the UK’s largest FE establishments, offering a diverse curriculum to more than 20,000 students.


A world-leading centre for dance education and development.

To provide an inspirational learning experience, from first contact through into the profession, enabling aspiring dance artists, and dance professionals, regardless of background, to shape the future of dance.


Northern Ballet Academy

Inspiring the dancers of tomorrow, the Academy of Northern Ballet embodies a 21st Century approach to training. Under the direction of David Nixon OBE and Yoko Ichino, students receive the highest quality training that captures the talent and imagination of individuals and nurtures their passion for dance, creating balanced and healthy dancers who excel in technique and knowledge.

Phoenix Dance Theatre

Phoenix Dance Theatre is the UK’s longest standing contemporary dance company outside London. Since the Company’s small beginnings in 1981, founded by three black British men, it has grown to be a key Northern forerunner in contemporary dance and for 37 years has performed across the globe educating and inspiring diverse audiences through dance.


 Inkwell work as a project is based on developing creative skills whatever an individuals background or ability, as an integral part of the journey towards recovery from mental health issues.

It encourages personal expression working with adults 16-65+. Creativity can play a significant role in helping people recover and maintain a robust mental health. 

About the future of the work...

This activity is the beginning of a long-term plan Sandrine has to establish herself as a Yorkshire based contemporary dance choreographer & company.
This activity is invaluable to Sandrine’s artistic development as a director, dedicated to reaching new and hard-to-engage audiences across the UK, in dance/theatre venues, particularly reaching many who have not seen contemporary dance before.
Sandrine has begun to establish wider connections including Mental Health charities and groups such as Inkwell, the creative arm of Leeds Mind and sports communities.
With the support of her well-connected dance network in Leeds and in the UK, she is aiming at reaching a wide and diverse audience and present accessible, relatable and high-quality work.

Supporting Letter

From Sharon Watson - Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre

Previous work...

Videos, pictures and reviews...

Choreographic Showreel

Pieces created for Phoenix Dance Theatre, Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz Munich, Phoenix Youth Academy, Lowry CAT Scheme


Creation on Central School of Ballet - 2019


Photo: Patrick Baldwin

Review - Dance Europe Magazine 2019



Creation on Phoenix Dance Theatre - 2018

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Photo: Brian Slater

Review - Dance Europe Magazine 2018

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Review - Yorkshire Times 2018

Instagram post from audience member


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Creation on Phoenix Dance Theatre - 2017

Calyx was nominated 'Best Premiere 2017' by Dance Europe Magazine Critic's Choice 2017, toured around the UK for 2 years and in festivals in Germany and China

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Photo: Brian Slater

Review - Dance Europe Magazine 2017

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Education work

Technique class - Creative and Choreographic workshops

Phoenix Dance Theatre
Phoenix Dance Theatre – GCSE Shadows
Phoenix Youth Academy
Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures
Wayne McGregor Studio
ACE Dance and Music
James Cousins – GCSE Within Her Eye
Northern Ballet - Postgraduate and CAT
NSCD - BA, postgraduate and CAT
Central School of Ballet
CAT Schemes (Swindon, Exeter)
Leeds City College


Phoenix Dance Theatre (dance company)
Roberto D. Rusconi (composer)
Intrasonus (trans-disciplinary producing company)
Centres for Advanced Training CAT schemes
(NSCD, Exeter, Swindon)
Central School of Ballet - London
Emma James (Costume Designer)
Luke Haywood (Lighting Designer)
Marcos Mariz (Dramaturg)
Hughboy Condor (Set designer)

©2020 by Sandrine Monin

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